Whether it’s the overall sound or message derived from the genre, or just the fact that it’s a mainstay style that is associated with a different part of the population, there’s seemingly more stereotypes associated to pop punk compared to others. With that thought process, and the fact that Florida is well known for being the home of heavy hitters A Day to Remember, any new group hailing from the state would immediately seem to be at a disadvantage. Facing this immediate obstacle is Floridian natives and pop punk group Scream Out Loud who are set to release their self-titled album on August 12th which bares the question, how does it stand out against their peers of the genre? It’s not a bad album by any means, the only issue is it seems to lack some of the emotion that is so common in the pop punk scene today.
One of the biggest shifts in the pop punk scene over the past few years has been a stronger desire to display more emotion in the message and sound. This is something many of the bigger acts like Real Friends, Wonder Years or Neck Deep have moved towards within the craft and it has lead to an expanded fanbase and stronger, better off sound. That leads to one of the more immediately noticeable flaws in Scream Out Loud, which is the lack of emotion in the sound, leading to a less than memorable record. It ultimately lacks that “it” or “wow” factor that reels the listener in and makes them want to continue to go back repeatedly. That being said, this is by no means a bad album and has its fair amount of highlights, such as “Don’t Tell Me How To Feel”. It starts out with some catchy ‘woah oh oh’s’, utilizes gang vocals and incredibly catchy hooks, striking that fine line of memorability with catchiness, making it a stand out track. Furthermore frontman Jøseph Kirkland attempts to stretch himself as a vocalist by employing different vocal ranges including some falsetto which helps to breathe some life into an album that can feel stale at times.
Scream Out Loud’s video for ‘Just Another Song’, from their upcoming self titled album. Available on Luxor Records ©℗ 2016
One of the other aspects that’ll be divisive on the record is in regards to the overall album instrumentation. Fans who enjoy the typical pop punk tone and sound will be at home here, but the overall sound found comes across a bit generic throughout various moments on the record. Strong instrumentation can help drive a record and together with a solid vocal approach, both can become a cohesive showcase of what a band truly offers, but on Scream Out Loud, the overall sound doesn’t do enough to make the album stand out or pop. It feels as if a lot of the songs are carried by Joseph Kirkland, and while that isn’t a bad thing, it doesn’t really offer something to continuously come back to musically.
Scream Out Loud is at their best with their more fast paced, pop punk sound as highlighted by the tracks “When I’m Alone” and “Separate From The Rest”. Whether it was a desire to create a varied record or trying to do something to stray away from a sound found by the name-stays of the genre, the band chose to not utilize that sound as much as they should’ve. The end result is a sound that would’ve fit in better within the genre itself years ago and while not entirely dated, lacks the oomph today’s pop punk scene maintains. As a whole, Scream Out Loud may find a place in the soft spot of die hard fans of the genre, but ends up missing the mark.